You Don’t Need to Buy Something to Change Yourself

You Don’t Need to Buy Something to Change Yourself:

There’s a thread here. You don’t need to buy something to change yourself. If there’s something you want to change about yourself, the purchase of a product won’t initiate that change. What will initiate that change is your action. All that a product can possibly do is make an action that you’re already doing more effective. If you’re not already doing that action, then that purchase is a waste of money.

If you want to lose weight, simply watch your calories. Count them with a free calorie counting app on your phone. There’s no need to buy diet programs or diet pills or anything like that. Just watch what you eat with care.

If you want to be more fit, simply start moving around more and leveraging your body weight. Go on walks. Do some pushups. Do some planks. You don’t need gym memberships or exercise gear or videos. You don’t need anything else until long walks and planks and pushups and situps become trivially easy.

If you want to learn about something, you don’t need to go buy class materials or books or anything like that. Just go to the library, check out a few books, sit them on your bedside table, and read. If you want an overview of a topic to start with, look it up on Wikipedia and read the entry.

If you want to do something, do it. If you need equipment to do it on any level, go get the absolute minimum equipment you need (preferably by borrowing it, like a library book, or by buying used or very low end, if you absolutely have to) and then just do it.

You don’t need items to do something.

(Via The Simple Dollar The Simple Dollar)

Why is it that the obvious things need restating so much? And then why do we (I) neglect or ignore the knowledge? As usual with Trent’s posts, it’s a head slapping moment.

Do. Don’t buy. Do.

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How to criticize the press—responsibly

Columbia Journalism Review How to criticize the press—responsibly

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We live in a moment of extraordinary tension between the press and the public. Donald Trump’s knee-jerk retort of “Fake news” is now a particular favorite of dictators and authoritarians around the world. The prevailing anti-press animosity at the national level has trickled down to local reporters, the Associated Press reports. And it’s not just threats. In June, a man opened fire with a shotgun inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five newspaper employees and injuring two others. In October, a Bulgarian journalist was raped and murdered, a Saudi journalist was assassinated and dismembered inside his own government’s consulate, and mail bombs were sent to the New York offices of CNN.

I’ve written previously about some things journalists and news organizations can do to try strengthen audience trust at a time like this. But that’s only half the equation. It’s also a good time for a refresher for citizens on what constitutes a healthy, constructive conversation about the work we produce.

For some, what follows may be obvious; to others, it may seem laughably naive. But journalists don’t like to let important things go unsaid. And, if these points feels achingly obvious, surely you know someone who could use a reminder, or a young person who never learned them in the first place.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for how to respond to the press.

DON’T commit or condone violence against journalists.

Violence against journalists is unacceptable under any circumstances, no matter what the President tweets and says at his rallies. Sadly, we live in an era where this long-unsaid truth needs to be stated clearly, frequently, and unequivocally.

Freedom of the press not only appears at the top our nation’s Bill of Rights, it’s enshrined in Article 19 of the UN’s 1948’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the “freedom to… seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” And so if you commit an act of violence against a journalist you’re not only breaking the law, you’re committing a breach of values shared (in theory, at least) by Americans and people around the world.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 1,300 journalists have been killed worldwide since 1992, and a newly released CPJ report notes that impunity for killers of journalists is “entrenched in 14 nations.” Meanwhile, 40 journalists have been physically attacks in the United States so far this year, according to the US Press Freedom Tracker.

DON’T make it personal.

Nonviolence may be the lowest bar to clear when responding to a work of journalism. But it’s also not productive to personally criticize the journalist who produced it. This means refusing to comment on a journalist’s age, appearance, gender, race, class, religion, sexual orientation, education, outfit, or anything else about them, when responding to their work. In all cases, stick to the work, not the person.

This, of course, is Human Decency 101, but it applies especially to journalists, who conduct their work in public about sensitive subjects. And, if you’re responding with any trace of good faith (a big “if,” I know), staying focused on the work will actually help get your message across. Washington Post media columnist and former New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan tells me she makes a point to respond to reader emails. “But I do not answer the ones that attack me,” she says. As soon as they get personally insulting, “I tune out.”

To that I’ll add: many journalists are perfectionists who take great pride in their work, so if your goal is to cause emotional pain, pointing to flaws in what we wrote is often more upsetting than any ad hominem jab, anyway.

DO know that feedback is essential to journalism.

Listening to our audience isn’t some optional, take-it-or-leave-it aspect of journalism; it’s a vital part of what we do. This is both ideological—you’ll find calls for audience feedback throughout the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics and the American Press Institute’s “What Is Journalism” digital library—but it’s also practical. While we strive for accuracy and excellence, journalists are often assigned topics cold, and trying to establish expertise quickly. Or we’re simply working on extremely tight deadlines. Slip-ups are inevitable, and we need your help spotting and correcting them.

So, if we got something factually wrong, tell us so we can fix it quickly. And if there was something wrong in the bigger sense—in the way a piece was framed or presented, or if there are subjects or stories we continue to miss—tell us so we don’t make the same mistake twice. Journalists are overworked, and it may take us a moment to respond. But an upside to our workload is that we rarely run out of opportunities to try to do better next time. As Sullivan explains, “For the most part, we’re idealistic still, and we want to be improving, growth-oriented, [and] constructive.”

DO read/watch/listen to the full article before responding.

This one is pretty self explanatory: if you didn’t complete (or even begin!) the piece, you’re really in no position to give a constructive response. At least give it a skim?

DO be as specific as possible.

The least helpful criticism simply makes sweeping claims about “the media,” a term that, as the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi has skillfully explained, is “so imprecise and generic that it has lost any meaning.” One notch better (but still essentially useless) are blanket statements about an entire news outlet or a particular reporter. In contrast, the best feedback zeroes in not just on a specific article, but the specific place that was incorrect or ill advised, and, when possible, backs up its claims with evidence or a detailed explanation.

Once you toss some of these specifics on the table, we can begin to have a productive conversation, which is what NPR’s Steve Inskeep was getting at when he recently tweeted to the president: “Thanks for writing. If a specific NPR story concerns you, feel free to name it and we can go to the transcript. All work is public at http://npr.org . If there is no specific story of concern, that is its own answer. I’ll continue doing my job as a citizen.”

DO remember that journalists are human beings acting in good faith.

In a world in which reporters are called “scum,” “disgusting,” “enemies” and much worse, it’s worth stating—and restating—that journalists are human beings. We are flesh-and-blood people with spouses, friends, parents, children, pets, memories, hobbies, and mortgages. We like pizza. We pay taxes. We go to the gym and take out the trash. And if you’re inclined to leave an angry voicemail or slide your thumb across your throat at us, it’s important to remember: that’s someone’s brother or sister. That’s a human being, with a heartbeat, a birthday, a favorite song. Don’t believe those who tell you otherwise.

And, beyond our basic humanity, the vast majority of us are trying to do as fair and accurate of a job as possible. Northeastern University journalism professor and longtime media reporter and critic Dan Kennedy tells me that, of the hundreds of journalists he knows or has written about, he can probably count the number of bad apples he’s encountered—people who plagiarize or fabricate—on one hand. The rest “are absolutely trying to do the best job that they can, oftentimes under very difficult circumstances,” he says.

You can take Kennedy’s word. Or you can look at what happens when people run afoul of the expectations of the industry and its employers. Listen to the This American Life episode “Retraction” exposing Mike Daisey’s narrative corner-cutting in an earlier episode of the show. Check out the 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair stories on serial fabulist Stephen Glass, or the New York Times deep-dive on Jayson Blair’s “low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” Read the lengthy report from this publication about Rolling Stone’s disastrous UVA campus rape story.

Each of these stories reflects an industry that holds accountability, accuracy, and reputation as its highest principles.

DO support us, if you appreciate our work.

I’m sure I’m far from the only journalist who, years later, can quote verbatim lines from positive reader feedback. (One email included the unforgettable phrase, “Please keep writing.”) These words fill our emotional gas tanks and remind us why we do this work. It certainly isn’t the pay.

So, if you learned something from a piece of journalism, or you were moved or challenged or entertained by it, take a moment to mention that to the person who created it. Don’t assume that someone else has said something. Somehow, thanks to the wonders of the human mind, notes like this can cancel out the memory of a thousand nasty comments.

And if you’re feeling grateful, words aren’t the only useful form of praise. Subscribe. Donate. Defend us in conversations. Support organizations like CPJ or Freedom of the Press Foundation. (Or CJR.) Journalism is hard work that, though often accessed for free, costs enormous time, labor, energy, and money to produce. If you appreciate what we do, we’ll gladly take whatever support you can offer in return. Even pizza.

Especially pizza.

ICYMI: The aggressive campaign that has extinguished 90 percent of Breitbart’s advertisers

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

(Via https://www.cjr.org/analysis/how-to-criticize-the-press-responsibly.php)

Regardless of your political preferences and beliefs, a robust journalism corps in multiple respected sources is quintessential to promoting, protecting, and defending the Constitution as one party or partisan group ascends.

Remember, journalists are human and make mistakes as do publications. The measure of them is how well they do on the whole and how well the respond to such mistakes.

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Ten Days in Tokyo

I neglected to post about my son’s visit to Tokyo! Instead of the chronological travel log common, you get N8’s trip in no particular order.

We went to karaoke.

<videos redacted by request>

We ate things.

We visited Odaiba:

We wandered around Tokyo Tower.

Other adventurecateering photos:

Unsurprisingly, everyone was welcoming. My friends and colleagues were excellent ambassadors of Japan, even those not from Japan.

I had a great time with N8. I hope it’s a trip he always remembers fondly.

35° 41.37 N 139° 41.502 E

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Just because you don’t understand it

Just because you don’t understand it:

…doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

…doesn’t mean it isn’t important.

If we spend our days ignoring the things we don’t understand (because they must not be true and they must not be important) all we’re left with is explored territory with little chance of improvement.

(Via Seth’s Blog)

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Seriously, when did everyone get together to decide bezels are bad and must disappear? Please formulate your answer while I pick up my phone that I cannot properly grip anymore.
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Japanese TV is too delightful. I am close to buckling. How crazy is it to get a set two years in?
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National Park Service on the verge of blocking most White House protests: comments due by MONDAY! / Boing Boing

Monday is the end of the comment period for a sweeping National Park Service proposal that will have a dramatic effect on the ability of Americans to protest in sight of their government.

Under the proposed new rules, protests around the White House and the National Mall would require permits, protestors would be barred from the sidewalk north of the White House. The proposal also seeks public comment on charging protesters fees for permits to gather.

You can and should comment.
— Read on boingboing.net/2018/10/13/trumplethinskin-3.html

I submitted my comment. It took about 5 minutes.

We should all vote, and we should provide candid feedback to government about things like this proposed rule change.

I don’t know or care about your politics. If your party or politicians you agree with are in power, just remember that someday they won’t be. Anyone trying to take your freedoms away should be a red flag to all.

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Fear and Emotion in Politics

Hi

Please take a deep breath.

Take another. Let things, whatever twists you up, go a little bit when you exhale. Repeat until you feel good and unwound.

Hi

Don’t be a single issue voter. The men and women that sit in local, state, and federal roles don’t have one issue regardless of what they may say in a campaign. They vote on many.

Take a Breath

Look at your personal landscape, threat and/or opportunity. Find the candidates who, as far as you can tell, come closest to your landscape. You might assess wrong. They might disappoint you.

Don’t know your personal landscape? It’s ok. Breathe. Take a little bit of time to think about it. Take more time if you need it. Come back. This’ll be here.

Breathe

Others will advise, coach, bully, coax. That’s ok. Those people won’t be in the voting booth with you. Your vote is yours. You vote you. Say whatever you want after.

Inhale

Maybe a candidate voted against your belief one time but otherwise met your expectations. Or mostly met your expectations with a few no votes. Or did they act counter to your personal landscape.

Exhale

Is that worth voting them out of office? Will the new person be any better?

Inhale

Stay tuned to this post for suggestions for more information.

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There’s a Major Measles Outbreak in NYC, Thanks to Anti-Vaxxers

Back in 2000, measles was considered to be “eliminated” in the United States. But today—thanks largely to the efforts of anti-vaccination campaigns (for your health!)—the highly contagious disease is popping up all over the place. Oh, cool! Nothing like resurrecting a killer of children in the name of protecting children!
— Read on jezebel.com/theres-a-major-measles-outbreak-in-nyc-thanks-to-anti-1543991945

How is this still a thing? If the anti-vaxxers argued civil liberties I might be able to sympathize. But they’re fighting both science and math where both have strong data. When it comes to disease spread, we have even more data.

There is far too much emotion in this fight on the anti-vaxxer side and poor communicators on the science side. The science and math folks are correct.

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Gloom (and doom) | Seth’s Blog

Doom is inevitable.

Gloom is optional.

Gloom has no positive effects on ameliorating doom.

Doom happens. Gloom is a choice.

— Read on seths.blog/2018/10/gloom-and-doom/

Yep.

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